In 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson published Ramona: A Story, the first novel written about southern California. Jackson's book, with picturesque descriptions of southern California’s landscape, was the setting for a tragic love story about Ramona, a half-Indian beauty raised on a rancho.
When railroads opened southern California up to inexpensive travel, a tourism and real-estate boom of unheard of proportion struck the region, and Jackson’s novel became a handbook for sightseeing. Within a year of its publication, tourists in droves visited landmarks identified with Ramona's fictional life - her birthplace, her home, the site of her wedding, and her grave. And at most of these locations, vast array of souvenirs commemorating their visits were available for purchase.
It was these souvenirs that led Dr. Dydia DeLyser to rethink the craze for all things Ramona as initiated not by regional boosters, but by the tourists themselves. The souvenirs were in fact, meaningful reminders of travels to specific meaningful places.
In her book, Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California , DeLyser traces the myth's emergence within the context of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century tourist industry, and explores how the heroine of a nineteenth-century romance novel pervades southern California’s regional identity.
Copies of Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California will be available for purchase and signing after the program.
Dr. Dydia Delyser is a cultural-historical geographer, published author and Professor of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. A lifelong passion for all things vintage influences her research topics and writing as well as her personal pursuits. These would include ghost towns, neon signs, the history of women in aviation, antique cars, motorcycles, airplanes and architecture. Her 1941 Tatra T87 won the New York Times Collectible Car Contest in 2010 and in 2012, and her Lincoln Heights home, a Victorian known as the Young-Gribling residence, was recently designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument 1017.
June 8th, 2013
Bolton Hall Museum
10110 Commerce Avenue
(Corner of Commerce & Valmont)
Parking available uphill at the
Elks Lodge — 10137 Commerce
Everyone is Welcome
served after the program.
Donations gratefully accepted.